Gunmen attacked a Nigerian police quarters and killed four officers, police said on Wednesday, in the latest violence in the country’s restive southeast where separatist tensions have been on the rise.
Southeast Nigeria has seen a string of attacks on police stations that officials blame on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an outlawed separatist group that agitates for an independent state for the ethnic Igbo people.
Gunmen engaged in a battle at the Ogbaru local police command in Anambra State early on Wednesday morning, before they were driven back by officers, police said.
Four officers died in the fighting, Anambra State police spokesman Tochukwu Ikenga said.
IPOB denies its armed wing, Eastern Security Network, is involved in any attacks, claiming that it defends the region from other militias. But separatist agitation is on the rise.
More than 100 police officers and other security personnel have been killed since the beginning of last year in targeted attacks in the southeast, according to local media tallies.
Prisons have also been raided with scores of inmates freed and weapons stolen.
IPOB’s leader Nnamdi Kanu is in government custody since he was arrested abroad in June last year and brought back to Nigeria to face treason charges.
Separatism is especially sensitive in southeast Nigeria, where a declaration of an independent Republic of Biafra by Igbo army officers 50 years ago sparked a civil war that left more than one million people dead.